Off Path

After we saw the water wheel we were heading toward Hamill Spring.  This natural spring is in Winston County and is said to have been tested as having been the purest water in the state so we had to find out.  As we left Louisville, we continued on Hwy 14 and let me tell you, there are really no good directions on how to get to the spring.  Well, and we might be directionally challenged anyway.  We didn’t make the turn onto Hwy 25 when we should have so we kept going.  Finally I said, “I think we are going the wrong way.”

“Do we need to turn around?”  “Yes, turn around.”  “I will, just give me a minute.”  “Where are you going??”  “To turn around!”  Sterling was still driving and he gets a little irritated with me side seat driving, navigating I would say but you know…  Anyway, we ended up turning around and heading toward Starkville on Hwy 25, thank goodness for Siri!!  Along Hwy 25 is the marker for the Spring, this picture was taken from the Visit Mississippi website.

OK, here is the marker but now there are no directions on how to get to the spring which obviously is NOT here.  So, we turned down the road.  As we passed a church the road turned to dirt.  Oh no, now what???  Sterling slowed the Hummer down to a crawl and we continued onward.  At this point I was getting a bit worried so I pulled out my phone to search for some sort of directions, I mean the first set of directions led us to the sign, hopefully the second set was going to be more helpful.

All I could tell is that the road split up ahead and I thought we needed to keep right.  Turned out the split in the road was a logging road and the only way we could go was right.  We continued down the dirt road for quite a ways and now we were in the middle of the National Forest and in the very heart of BFE.  I hoped this turned into something!!  As we rounded a curve I saw a couple of benches and a walkpath.

“Stop stop stop!  I think this is it”  “Are you sure???”  “I think so, I mean, what else could it be??”  “OOOOOOOk.”

So we backed up and parked in a pull over spot right next to another trail.  As we exited the Hummer all we heard were birds.  No cars, no people…nothing but nature.  It is a good thing that there had been pictures on the Internet because I may not have known that this was the spring until I got to the sign.  They have put a PVC pipe under the road so that is what the spring comes out of.  We were here, I was going to try the water.  I put my bottle under the pipe and filled it up, brought it to my lips and drank deeply…thoughts of parasites ran quickly through my head…the water was delicious!!  Cold and pure and delicious.  It tasted better than any water I have had in a long time.  It is making me thirsty just thinking about it.

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This seemed like a good spot to eat lunch so we had an impromptu picnic on the benches that someone had placed past the informational sign.

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After lunch we headed down the path and into the little valley to explore a little.  As we arrived back at the top a truck came screeching to a stop on the road.

“What is that???  Oh man”  “Mom, you worry too much about cops!  We are in a National Park, it is ok to be here.”  “You are right, it’s just the last time a car did that the cops showed up right after that.” (see Tresspass)  “Mom, it is ok”  “Then why are they just sitting in their truck??”

Now I admit, I did think at first that maybe we were in trouble.  I knew we weren’t, but… Now when they just sat there I started to wonder again what was going on.  Then they got out and started filling up jugs.  We had to walk past these guys to get out.  I guess I figured that if they were filling up jugs they were ok…and I was right.

We walked past them and said Hello.  One was very open and friendly and the other had his hat pulled down as far as he could and just went about the business of filling his jugs.  The friendly one told us how the spring used to wash out the road and other local tidbits and extolled the purity of the spring.  He said “Where else can you find a place with no development and no chemicals for miles???”  I agreed and started to make my way toward the truck.  Then he told us that his friend came all the way from Tennessee to get this water.  OK, wait a minute…that is kind of strange, I am sure that there are springs in Tennessee.  What was even more strange is that his friend knew exactly how many seconds it took to fill up a gallon of water from this spring…47 seconds.  In fact, according to Find A Spring.com there are at least 16 springs in Tennessee.  I guess because he used to live here he liked this water better.  Or, maybe he was a moonshiner and used this water because it is so pure.  Or maybe the water really does have restorative properties.  At any rate, he gets this water every time he comes home.  I know it was good so maybe that is the only reason.  Who knows.  All I know is that they were nice and wished me a Happy Mother’s Day as we left them.

We got back into the truck and started down the road heading the same way we came in.  No idea where the road went, but hey this is an adventure!!  We hit pavement a little while after we left the spring but the road was very twisty and we had to keep crossing bridges that looked more like cattle crossing than bridges that would hold up the Hummer.

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I kept slowing down every time I came to one and finally I heard:

“Why do you keep crawling over these bridges????”  “I just don’t want to go fast.”  “Well, if we go down at least get some speed up so we might have a chance of jumping the rest of the span!!!”  “Ok!”

So we went faster over the last one.  I am not sure if we could have jumped the span, but it made my side seat driver happy.

This part of the adventure was a good one and took us to places that were very far off the beaten path.  I really enjoyed everything that we did.  I think this is a place that we have to go back to, this time with more water jugs.  I could really use a glass of that water right now!!

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